Towards a synthesis of the Caribbean biogeography of terrestrial arthropods

BMC Evolutionary Biology
Sarah C Crews, Lauren A Esposito

Abstract

The immense geologic and ecological complexity of the Caribbean has created a natural laboratory for interpreting when and how organisms disperse through time and space. However, competing hypotheses compounded with this complexity have resulted in a lack of unifying principles of biogeography for the region. Though new data concerning the timing of geologic events and dispersal events are emerging, powerful new analytical tools now allow for explicit hypothesis testing. Arthropods, with varying dispersal ability and high levels of endemism in the Caribbean, are an important, albeit understudied, biogeographic model system. Herein, we include a comprehensive analysis of every publicly available genetic dataset (at the time of writing) of terrestrial Caribbean arthropod groups using a statistically robust pipeline to explicitly test the current extent of biogeographic hypotheses for the region. Our findings indicate several important biogeographic generalizations for the region: the South American continent is the predominant origin of Caribbean arthropod fauna; GAARlandia played a role for some taxa in aiding dispersal from South America to the Greater Antilles; founder event dispersal explains the majority of dispersal events ...Continue Reading

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